Sensory organs are constantly exposed to physical and chemical stresses that collectively threaten the survival of sensory neurons. Failure to protect stressed neurons leads to age-related loss of neurons and sensory dysfunction in organs in which the supply of new sensory neurons is limited, such as the human auditory system. Transducin β-like protein 1 (TBL1) is a candidate gene for ocular albinism with late-onset sensorineural deafness, a form of X-linked age-related hearing loss. TBL1 encodes an evolutionarily conserved F-box-like and WD40 repeats-containing subunit of the nuclear receptor co-repressor/silencing mediator for retinoid and thyroid hormone receptor and other transcriptional co-repressor complexes. Here we report that a Drosophila homologue of TBL1, Ebi, is required for maintenance of photoreceptor neurons. Loss of ebi function caused late-onset neuronal apoptosis in the retina and increased sensitivity to oxidative stress. Ebi formed a complex with activator protein 1 (AP-1) and was required for repression of Drosophila pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic genes expression. These results suggest that Ebi/AP-1 suppresses basal transcription levels of apoptotic genes and thereby protects sensory neurons from degeneration.
Lim, Y. M., Hayashi, S., & Tsuda, L. (2012). Ebi/AP-1 suppresses pro-apoptotic genes expression and permits long-term survival of drosophila sensory neurons. PLoS ONE, 7(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0037028